Frank Ntilikina remained diplomatic Sunday when responding to negative comments made by LeBron James the previous night.
The Knicks, a team with a glaring need at the point guard position entering the summer, held the No. 8 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, and many projected them to select either Smith out of North Carolina State or Malik Monk out of Kentucky.
After the game, James gave Smith praise while also criticizing one of the teams that passed on him in the draft. "He should be a Knick". That's going to make some headlines, but he should be a Knick. It doesn't matter if it's LeBron or whoever it is, I can not just let him disrespect him like that because the coaches, the GMs, the president, this organization knows what they're doing. I've been knowing that.
The Cavaliers take on the Knicks at the Garden Monday night. A year ago, James told ESPN in an interview that he had absolutely no respect for Jackson. I had nothing but respect for him as a coach for what he was able to do. Late Saturday night, Kanter quote-tweeted a video of LeBron's comments and added the caption, "Nope!" "But all I can say is we love Frank". "Dallas got the diamond in the rough".
"In life, people can think whatever they want", Ntilikina said.
Since then Smith has looked like far better pick - Smith is averaging 14.2 points per game to Ntilikina's 4.7, Smith has the ball in his hands and has been the more efficient shooter (although neither is efficient), and Smith has looked like a potential future star while Ntilikina has looked like a project.
Smith Jr. scored 21 points and contributed seven assists against the Cavs. Asked if he had anything to prove to the rest of the National Basketball Association, he added: "I don't have to prove to them, I have to prove to myself". "I don't care who".
Thankfully, Kanter jumped to Ntilikina's defense and expressed how grateful he is to have the two-time LNB Pro A Best Young Player award-winner on the roster.